Published: 10:43, 13 August 2003
GRAND Prix legend John Surtees is calling for business support for a new motor sport training complex at Buckmore Park Karting Centre.
The new centre will teach young people all about driving safely at speed.
It is part of a large investment in the circuit that begins with the opening of a new clubhouse next month. An improved paddock and the training centre will follow.
"This is the first stage of bringing in facilities to match the quality of the circuit," said Surtees, whose company John Surtees Limited, is based in Edenbridge.
It will be financed through a partnership between the karting centre, Government and private enterprise. He hopes local firms will want to become involved as part of their contribution to the community and to the young.
"We're talking reasonable sums of money because it needs to be done right. We want to give value for money."
Surtees, the only man to win world championships on two wheels and four, hopes the centre will produce the next Michael Schumacher.
"We need to give kids a wider opportunity that will create a spark and push them through life," he said. "We not only needed a good circuit, we needed to get away from Third World facilities."
Buckmore Park is one of the best circuits in Britain, he says. "Nationally, it can stand up to any challenge. In Kent, we have a full Brands Hatch and a mini Brands Hatch which is Buckmore.
"Buckmore is recognised as a superb drivers' circuit. If you can drive Buckmore, you can drive anywhere."
The new facility will be part of the clubhouse, with study rooms and fully equipped workshop and aimed at young people aged between eight and 15.
Surtees has lined up a galaxy of motor racing VIPs for the official clubhouse opening on September 3.
They include Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, the legendary Stirling Moss and Simon Taylor, the BBC commentator. He is also expecting a Government minister.